27 January 2011

Nigeria: Mastercard, Interswitch to Offer Co-Branded Debit Card

MasterCard Worldwide, a global payment solutions company, and Interswitch, responsible for the Verve payment card brand in Nigeria, have announced that they have entered into a strategic co-brand debit card agreement.

This agreement fits with one of the objectives of the Central Bank of Nigeria's Financial System Strategy 2020 (FSS 2020), which is to advance the efficiency of the country's e-payment systems, by reducing the reliance on cash and promoting interoperability among financial institutions.

The co-brand debit agreement between MasterCard and Interswitch will contribute positively towards this vision.

According Daniel Monehin, Area Head, East & West Africa and Indian Ocean Islands of MasterCard, the agreement will enable the launch of the MasterCard Verve debit card, a chip and PIN debit card, which allows cardholders to enjoy the benefits of the widest acceptance throughout Nigeria as well as internationally with extensive cardholder protection. It is expected that the first MasterCard Verve debit cards will become available through the banks in early February 2011.

The new debit card will afford cardholders peace of mind in going about their daily shopping habits, as it will provide them with a secure and efficient way of accessing their cash at over 12,000 point of sale locations, 400 online merchants and at 10,000 ATMs throughout Nigeria.

Monehin said MasterCard Worldwide the co-branded debit card agreement with Interswitch will ignite a new era in convenient and secure payments for Nigerians and through this collaboration, cardholders will need only one card for domestic and international transacting.

He added that MasterCard Verve debit cardholders would have the ability to use their debit cards in even more places, unlocking the true potential of chip and PIN cards as a safe and convenient method of payment.

The MasterCard Verve co-brandeddebit card is fully Nigerian and fully international. "MasterCard is delighted to introduce this highly functional debit card to the public and looks forward to empower Nigerians with meaningful, convenient and secure payments solutions," he said.

The cards will give Nigerians unprecedented levels of debit card acceptance - wherever they are in the world - and greatly reduces their need to rely on cash for everyday purchases as MasterCard branded cards are currently accepted at 30.9 million acceptance locations across 210 markets worldwide, which include merchant locations, ATMs and other locations where cash can be obtained.

Cardholder protection is of paramount importance to MasterCard, and MasterCard Verve debit card holders can rest easy knowing that if their card was ever compromised or stolen while travelling they would be able to receive either a replacement card from their bank or a cash advance through MasterCard's Global Service.

According to the Director Payment Solutions, Interswitch, Charles Ifedi, the MasterCard Interswitch collaboration is a milestone in the history of the company because it enables Interswitch to provide cardholders with what they deserve, which is more convenience at home and abroad. MasterCard Verve debit cardholders would be the first cardholders in Nigeria to have local and international acceptance and be able to access a range of value added services.

Ifedi said with Quickteller cardholders would get instant 24-hour reconnection to a variety of local and regional services such as DSTV, Airtel, HiTV and PHCN, at the same time MasterCard Verve debit card "offers fantastic price points and significant benefits to cardholders locally, regionally and internationally".

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